US-Australia trade deal strengthens power of Australian drugs industryBMJ 2004; 328 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.328.7440.604-h (Published 11 March 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:604
- Bob Burton
The release of details of the free trade agreement between Australia and the United States has rekindled concern over its impact on Australia's pharmaceutical benefits scheme (PBS) and the country's present ban on advertising drugs directly to consumers.
Speaking at a business conference supporting the agreement, the deputy secretary of the Department of Health and Aging, Philip Davies, insisted that the changes to the scheme were minor. “All the changes in the agreement are essentially process related when it comes to the PBS,” he said.
Under the scheme the government subsidises approved drugs and negotiates discounted prices …